“Probably the only good thing about having a bad year is that it does make you hungrier. It was a rough season. It started well and I was where I needed to be in January and February, but I got sick a few times which meant I didn’t had the most straightforward year. In October I came off a month of antibiotics and I feel much, much better.
I’m coming into this period seven kilos lighter than I was at this time last year. I’m definitely ready to go and ready to really step it up. I’d love to have a big year.
I was in Europe in October and got into a good routine. I’ve been doing a lot of gym work and a lot of swimming and walking. The weather was great in Monaco so I loved being out on the bike. It was all quite inspiring.
This off-season I finished earlier, so I’ve had to start again earlier. I’ve been rolling home via the Col de la Madone, which is probably the most famous climb where I’m based. I really enjoy doing that and during the season Froomey and I often train together and go over La Madone.
Now I’m back in Tasmania. It’s something I’d really been looking forward to. The government has just spent a lot of money on mountain bike trails which is also great in the off-season. I’m healthy and it’s good to be fit going into a big block of winter training.
Together with the team we’ve done some great work on the time trial bike and I feel much more comfortable now. I feel really happy with where we’re at. Little things like that will all help. I’ve got a great new girlfriend and it’s nice to build up to a new year in a different frame of mind.
Obviously the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the Tour is hard enough as it is without throwing in some sickness. It was a disaster when Chris went home but the form I had going into the Tour was quite good.
I got through the rough stuff - which was basically the first 12 stages - sitting second on GC. That was the dream as it's always been my ambition to finish on the podium in the Tour, but then it turned into a nightmare. Obviously I think about it as a missed opportunity, but you’ve got to get on with it.
We had two years of massive success. It’s almost like we needed to have this year. But we’ve also had a lot of bad luck – with Geraint (Thomas) at Paris-Nice, Sergio (Henao’s) crash, myself, Yogi (Ian Stannard) and Froomey. It hasn’t been a straightforward year. I guess it’s hard to measure luck, but we’ve had our fair share of bad. It just makes everyone doubly determined to have a great season next year.”